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Poster: Jim F Date: Jun 30, 2011 10:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: weres' the wall

Yeah I've always heard that they cannibalized it and sold it off in pieces. I think like the Airplane or Starship or whatever used a couple pieces of it as their entire PA system. Surely broken down, the thing could have supplied a number of bands or venues with an effective PA. Hell the last time I saw Furthur, their system looked like maybe 1/10 of The Wall.

It really is amazing that they pulled off such overkill. And as someone said, during a period of touring hiatus which included a movie that hemmorhaged money, Hal Kant ripping them off, the simultaneous collapsing record company experiment, etc., surely the proceeds from the WOS are what kept the band financially "afloat," relatively speaking.

Ironically enough, they never really recovered from the series of very bad decisions (financially, anyway, I wouldn't at all call the WOS a bad decision, as it was the greatest sound system that ever existed) made by the band beginning in 1970 or so, until the In the Dark popularity of 87. And by that point, once they finally got their finances together and became the largest grossing touring act out there, they probably should have stopped touring anyway. From what I've read, it seems like deep down at that time they wanted to streamline their operation and take a break, but just didn't have the heart to lay off so many employees who depended on the band's touring. Though that's only a part of it, even if the Grateful Dead had taken a break, there was still the Garcia band aspect of things, which was also a huge obligation on Jerry, who was really stuck in an unfortunate spot of having two bands fighting for his time and energy. At any rate, it's sortof bittersweet that they've finally managed to get most things right, ie releasing live recordings, successful but not overwhelming touring, merchandising, cutting overhead, etc.

By the early 90's, they probably could have maintained a pretty good income simply off live recording sales and merchandising, at the least being able to afford taking another hiatus a la 1974. If anything, the 90's might perhaps have been the last great era to really capitalize on that, before the internet made digital trading what it is. Of course I would bet that 99% of the people reading this are probably the ones who have a Miller source and a couple OCD sources for any given show that gets released and will still purchase the official release.